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Gene And Phineas In "A Seperate Peace" By John Knowle.

936 words - 4 pages

In John Knowles's A Separate Peace, Gene is not the same quality character that Phineas happens to be. Gene and Phineas are best friends at the Devon School, and Gene, angry because of Phineas' athletic talent and social abilities, "jounced the limb" (Knowles, 53) in order to knock Finny out of the tree. This is similar to the story of Cain and Abel in the King James Bible. Cain and Abel are brothers, the sons of Adam and Eve, and both make sacrifices to the Lord. But Cain, like Gene, becomes jealous of the gifts his brother gives to God. Instead of pushing Abel off of a tree, as Gene does to Phineas, Cain slays Abel. Gene and Cain both harm their friends in jealousy, because they are not of the same quality as Phineas or Abel, and the jealousy of Gene and Cain shows they are not of the same quality.Gene shows that he is not the same quality person as Phineas through his jealousy. Gene envies many of Phineas' talents, one of them being his ability to get out of any trouble through clever use of his tongue. Once, Phineas wears a pink shirt as an emblem around school. Gene becomes jealous, because if anybody else had worn that shirt, they would have been beaten up. "I was beginning to see that Phineas could get away with anything. I couldn't help envying him a little, which was perfectly normal. There was no harm in envying even your best friend a little" (Knowles, 18). But Gene's subtle envy grows, and eventually does become harmful. Another time, when Phineas is at the "traditional term tea" of the "Upper Middle class" (Knowles, 18), the interim headmaster, Mr. Patch-Withers, notices that Phineas is wearing the Devon school tie as a belt. Gene becomes excited because he thinks that for once "he wasn't going to get away with it" (Knowles, 20.) Again, he is wrong, because Phineas is able to explain the tie through his clever social talent. Phineas once more is able to relieve himself of getting into trouble. This disappoints Gene: "He had gotten away with everything. I felt a sudden stab of disappointment. That was because I just wanted to see some more excitement; that must have been it" (Knowles, 21). Gene does not want more excitement; he just wants to see Phineas get into trouble because Gene is jealous of Phineas ability to get out of a snag.For awhile after that, Gene believes Phineas is trying to lower his grades by making him stay out every night. Then, one night while Phineas is trying to get Gene to go watch Leper jump off the tree, Gene erupts and tells him he has to study. To which Phineas replies "You want to study?" (Knowles, 49). Gene...

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